The Ivy has been an institution in London since well….forever. As much as we’ve begged and pleaded to be taken there, we’ve still never been.
So when The Ivy announced plans to create The Ivy Market Grill, an all day brassière for a quick bite, or a pre theatre menu dinner, we lept straight in and booked a table. Short answer? It’s Ronseal ; does exactly what it says on the tine. It’s almost like a diffusion line, a watered down version of the original that’s a bit more accessible.
Located just off Covent Garden’s Piazza, the restaurant still has an opulent feel, more than the Riding House Café but nothing on par with Brasserie Zedel. It does however have it’s own outdoor terrace that offers some cracking views of the square and the street entertainment below it. Fully expect to be fighting for a space in the summer.
Inside the restaurant, the antique steel and pewter bar is the centrepiece. It features an aged brass clock face atop it. Racing green booths, stools and chairs sit on the marble mosaic helping you feel like you’re in that Industrial era when you might be fine dining in the Ivy itself.
The menu is apparently designed around British classics accompanied by a bit of comfort food, like the Ivy and its famous Shepherds pies, some world food and cocktails. Personally, we couldn’t help but feel that the menu was a bit like some other restaurants’ all day menus but we only caught the brunch aspect; crumpets, eggs, avocado, pancakes and a full English. Maybe we’re just spoilt though? Safe to say that most other places don’t have a Crème Brule doughnut on the menu for breakfast though…. Sadly, we were feeling uncharacteristically too healthy for that.
The rest of the menu? Whole lobster, Dover lemon sole, cheeseburgers. It’s nothing too surprising but awash with plenty of choices.
To wash it down? Drinks are as expected. Excellent. The Ivy Market Grill has its own gin and its champagne – both of which you see heavily featured on the menu, alongside a sensible wine list and a list of craft beers and IPAs that any pub aficionado would be proud of.
On our brunch time visit, we went for the veggie breakfast, which didn’t fail to disappoint, although we were disappointed by the fact that some of our food actually never arrived on our table. We didn’t complain; we had more than enough food and we weren’t charged for it so assumed that the waitress just didn’t hear one of our side orders.
The one takeaway (not a doggy bag) is that the tables are just too small and too close together. We had a great time listening to the table next to ours conversation. To the point it was incredibly difficult to concentrate on our own!
We’ll definitely be back though and inviting others too. More food, more drinks and more fun next time though. That’s what we’re planning.
The Ivy Market Grill, we’ll see you soon.